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#35476 - 07/12/01 07:12 PM Ancient Wizard of Misuse??  
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andreaz Offline
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My friend recently wrote to me about a word of the day he saw in the last year or so that he forgot. He described it as "A person who regularly uses words or phrases incorrectly". The word was derived from some mythological wizard's name who used expressions in the wrong way constantly. I would love to hear from you if you happen to know what it is. I've tried everything in the search menu, and can't find the word!
thank you!
-A


#35477 - 07/12/01 07:33 PM Re: Ancient Wizard of Misuse??  

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the first word that comes to mind related to malaprops is solecism, but i don't think there's any wizard connection. catachresis is a related word that i think is pretty cooooool , but i'm quite sure it's not what you're looking for.

[/absolutely useless post]


#35478 - 07/12/01 09:15 PM Re: Ancient Wizard of Misuse??  
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wwh Offline
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Mrs. Malaprop was a character in a play by Sheridan, The Rivals, who used pretentious words incorrectly. I am skeptical of the existence of any mythological wizard who misused words habitually.

And, cara, dear, your post was not wasted. I had forgotten "catachresis"= misuse of a word or words.. Those words go in and out of my head like flies in and out of a dairybarn door. Actually mostly out.

P.S. As sample of Mrs. Malaprop's output was " An allegory on the banks of the Nile." Meaning an alligator. I suspect that Sheridan made a mistake, since I do not believe there are any alligators in Africa, only crocodiles. Correct me if I am wrong.


#35479 - 07/12/01 09:55 PM Re: Ancient Wizard of Misuse??  

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cara, dear

...which leads us full circle (in a yartish sort of way) back to 'tautology', another neat-O word

not that i mind... one can never be held too dearly, only too tightly.


#35480 - 07/13/01 12:32 AM Re: Ancient Wizard of Misuse??  
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wwh Offline
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I'm not clear as to how we got to "tautology".I expanded on your use of malapropism, because andreaz was asking about an individual. Incidentally, the etymology of solecism is a bit interesting. The citizens of Solis in Asia Minor were considered slobs by other Greeks, who mocked their speech. Don't you like "pleonasm" or "redundancy"?


#35481 - 07/13/01 02:30 AM Re: Ancient Wizard of Misuse??  

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Don't you like "pleonasm" or "redundancy"?

acksherly©, i *do* happen to like both of the aforementioned words, and had idly considered typing one or the other in conjunction with "tautology" in an effort to be silly, but (1) i realized it'd been done before (IIRC, in a recent subject line?) and (2) i figgered attempts to be witty by affecting ignorance or feigning solecism, if you will... hey, talk about coming full circle!) are best left to those who aren't likely to be taken at face value .

as for my tautology comment, i wasn't relating it to your expansion on 'malaprop', but rather to you having called me Dear Dear .

and thanks for the history on solecism... intriguing!



#35482 - 07/13/01 12:02 PM Re: Ancient Wizard of Misuse??  
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Dear Cara: Alas, my face value is very small.


#35483 - 07/13/01 12:09 PM Re: Ancient Wizard of Misuse??  
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Dear andreaz: I woke up at 4 AM, thinking about the oracle at Delphi, and realized that perhaps she was your "mythological Wizard who always told lies." She was not mythological, and rather than telling lies, gave those who crossed her palm with large amounts of silver predictions carefully contrived to be interpreted two ways. For instance, she told a King who was planning a big battle that he would destroy a kingdom. He thought that was good news. But it turned out the kingdom he destroyed was his own.


#35484 - 07/13/01 01:16 PM Re: Ancient Wizard of Misuse??  
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wwh (veteran)
Posted on Thu Jul 12 20:32:52 2001
....... Don't you like "pleonasm" or "redundancy"?


8pm last night! after i had given up on yesterday's NYTimes cross word puzzle--i had ple(o)--sm and while i had the 4 examples of pleonasms-- i didn't know this word! -- a center piece of the crossword puzzle. (i looked it up first thing this AM!) itsn't interesting how words have there 15 minutes of fame, and then fall back to being normal words?


#35485 - 07/20/01 12:35 PM Re: Ancient Wizard of Misuse??  
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andreaz Offline
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Thank youall so much for your help! As it ends up, it wasn't a wizard at all. The word is:
mumpsimus (MUMP-suh-muhs) noun

1. Adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language,
memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy.
2. A person who persists in a mistaken expression or practice.

[From a story, which perhaps originated with Erasmus, of an illiterate
priest who said mumpsimus rather than sumpsimus (1st plural perfect
indicative of Latin sumere to pick up) while reciting the liturgy, and
refused to change the word when corrected]


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